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Sewerage: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Chief Executive of Water Service (Mrs Katharine Bryan) has written to the noble Lord in response to this question.

Letter from Mrs Katharine Bryan to Lord Laird

You recently asked Her Majesty's Government a Parliamentary Question, further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 17 January (WA 167) concerning the sewerage system at Springfield, County Fermanagh, what are the criteria for economic feasibility [HL1484]. I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as chief executive of Water Service.

Under current legislation, Water Service has a duty to provide water and sewerage services but is not required to do anything which is not practicable at a reasonable cost. For this reason, Water Service has always operated a policy of reasonable cost allowances for the purpose of determining what is practicable at reasonable cost. The reasonable cost allowances for sewerage schemes are £4,000 for each house occupied before May 2000 and £2,300 for all other houses. The policy provides Water Service with an objective mechanism to consider applications for new water and sewerage services in a consistent and equitable manner. The policy seeks to strike a balance between the interests of householders and taxpayers,

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within the context of resources made available for water and sewerage services. If the cost of the scheme is more than the total reasonable cost allowance, the scheme cannot be provided at public expense alone and can proceed only if the property owners agree to meet the additional cost.

When an application was received in 2002 for a sewer extension covering eight properties at Springfield, it was estimated that it would cost £45,000 and the total reasonable cost allowance was assessed at £32,000. The applicant was advised that the scheme could proceed if the additional cost of £13,000 was met by the householders who would benefit, but the offer was not taken up.

Space: Weapons

Lord Garden asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We consistently support UN resolutions on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), recognising that negotiations for the conclusion of an international agreement to prevent an arms race in outer space remain a priority task. However, there is no international consensus on the need to start negotiations on a new instrument, such as PAROS, governing the military use of space.

The Government do not accept the argument that negotiations on important issues such as the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty should be conditional on negotiation of a PAROS treaty.


Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Death by suicide is a determination which can be made only by a coroner’s inquest. Information retrieved from the coroner’s files indicates that seven of the deaths were a result of “starvation—Self imposed” and three were a result of “starvation with terminal bronchopneumonia—that the starvation was self imposed”.

Television: BBC Parliament

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Davies of Oldham: None. As the channel’s audience share is below the threshold at which broadcasters are obliged by Ofcom to offer subtitles, the subtitling service on BBC Parliament is a voluntary commitment of the BBC. It is the only parliamentary channel in the world to offer such a service.

The BBC announced in October of last year an increase in its subtitling of BBC Parliament from 450 hours per year to 810 hours, enabling more of the most important events to be offered in subtitling. The Government welcome this.

Television: Subtitling

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: No. We expect broadcasters to meet their legal minimum requirements for subtitling and audio description as set by Ofcom and we welcome the fact that many broadcasters choose to exceed those requirements.

Waste Management: Fly Tipping

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Flycapture, the national database of fly-tipping incidents, was set up in 2004 by Defra, the Environment Agency and the Local Government Association, to record fly-tipping incidents dealt with by the Environment Agency and local authorities. Data on fly-tipping levels are, therefore, available only from April 2004 onwards.

Flycapture data show that, in England, 926,534 incidents were reported in the period from April 2004 to March 2005. There were 1,034,518 incidents reported from April 2005 to March 2006.

The cost of clearing illegally dumped waste reported by local authorities between April 2004 and March 2005 was over £44 million. Between April 2005 and March 2006, the cost was almost £50 million. Over half of this cost was due to clearing fly-tips equal to small van-sized loads of waste. When the costs of clearance on private land are included, the 2005-06 clearance costs are estimated to rise to over £100 million.

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The number of defendants found guilty of offences under Sections 33 and 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 is shown in the table below. Data from 2006 will not be available until November 2007.

YearNumber of defendants found guilty of offences under Sections 33 and 34 of Environmental Protection Act











Source: Criminal Justice Systems Analysis, RDS—OCJR

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Water Service: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The target rate of return for Northern Ireland Water Limited, determined by the Government in their role as sole shareholder, reflects the specialist analysis and advice contained in the report by UBS, published on 9 February 2006. This is subject to ongoing review. The position in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive and HM Treasury.

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